Stripped of their msot basic human rights and dignity, most Palestinians have lost everything, except for their own memories of their homeland and a deep wanting to return. However, through visually depicting a historical narrative, the Palestine Museum in Cape Town hopes to keep the Palestinian memory alive.
While still in the building stages, the museum is slowly starting to take shape. The museum, which plans to opens its doors at the end of this year, is aimed at being a place where people can go to learn about Palestine as a country, but more importantly, Palestinians as human beings.
Director and curator of the museum, Dr Anis Daraghma said the museum will act as “a little Palestine outside Palestine”. He believes the museum should function as a place which offers information on not only the history of politics in the country, but the history of the development of its people, despite the political challenges it faced for over 3000 years.
“This museum will feature a culmination of artists from many parts of the world, especially in South Africa. We hope to send a few artists to Palestine for a tour of the country, then have them come up with an art piece which they feel best depicts the essence of the misunderstood country and its people,” Daraghma said.
Not many locals are aware of the fact that Cape Town is location where the first Palestine Museum outside Palestine will be constructed. The museum will be situated on a piece of land in District Six, a place where the apartheid regime tested its violations of human rights to a great degree, fitting for the current injustices against the Palestinian people and a beacon of hope for the oppressed.
Daraghma’s vision is one of sharing and appreciating. From the flooring in the museum to the biggest and most beautiful art pieces, he wants it all to have meaning and resonate with the people of Palestine.
This museum affords the general public an opportunity to get to know Palestinians apart from being forced the title of “oppressed”. Christianity, Islam and Judaism will have a significant influence on the museum in ensuring it delivers a true story of Palestine throughout history. The apartheid wall, erected by the Israeli government, is even a feature at the museum and a mini replica of the wall is in the design of the overall building.
While the beginning stages of the museum began with a rocky start, Daraghma said that soon, the public will be made more aware of the museum and what it has to offer closer to the opening at the end of the year.
With renewed interest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in light of the Zionist regime’s recent military bombardment of Gaza, Daraghma said the museum is a visual encyclopaedia for locals to gain more insight into Palestinian history.
However, he added that social media has played an even greater role in getting information in the public domain ever swifter. Locals are now taking a stronger stance, becoming activists in their communities and fighting towards the liberation for the Palestinian people. Daraghma said this show of solidarity from South Africans is a shimmer of hope for Palestinians who now live under an apartheid regime. VOC (Ra’eesah Isaacs)